LOS ANGELES — Supporters of a Los Angeles music teacher arrested for repeatedly punching a teenage student Friday in a fight captured on video have raised more than $70,000 in his defense.

The surprise outpouring for Maywood Academy High School teacher Marston Riley, 64, comes as he faces possible criminal prosecution and dismissal for his role in the classroom brawl with a student. Supporters of the longtime music teacher contend the video, which shows him wailing on the teen, doesn’t show the verbal and physical abuse he’s endured.

“Mr. Riley is a music teacher at Maywood Academy High School. He has earned the respect of many teachers, staff and students. Unfortunately, over the past few years unpleasant events have happened to him. Despite all that has happened, he has continued to do what he loves the most, to teach music,” wrote Maywood resident Cecilia Diaz Jimenez, who created a GoFundMe page for the teacher. “We all may have mixed feelings about what happened. But please do know that this is not the first time that Mr. Riley is attacked; physically or verbally. He is a great person and a great teacher.”

Riley was arrested Friday on suspicion of committing cruelty against a child not long after the fight with his student. He was released on $50,000 bail Saturday and remains under investigation.
The confrontation between Marston Riley and the student occurred at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Maywood Academy High School at 6125 Pine Ave., according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The school is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Video showed Riley slugging it out with the student as other students and a woman wearing a yellow safety vest try to intervene. Some students could be seen recording the fight on their cell phones.

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