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California music teacher arrested after video shows him repeatedly punching student

Photo illustration of a man in handcuffs. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

A high school music teacher in a suburban Los Angeles school district was arrested after a cellphone video captured him brawling with a student.

What were the charges?

Marston Riley, 64, was arrested Friday on charges of suspicion of child abuse and causing great bodily injury on a child following a fistfight at Maywood Academy High School in Maywood, a small city in southeast Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Joana Warren, a public information officer, told KTLA-TV that detectives from the Special Victims Bureau are investigating the case.

Students who were in the classroom told the TV station a classmate kept challenging Riley and the confrontation turned physical.

It all unfolded after Riley asked the student to leave his classroom because he wasn’t wearing the school uniform. The student refuses and begins swearing and hurling  racial slurs at Riley, who is black.

At one point, he tosses a basketball at Riley, which hits him in the stomach area. The teacher then gets out his cellphone and begins dialing to report what is happening.

The student continues to verbally abuse Riley, who allegedly punches him in the face.

The video shows the two scuffling across the classroom for about 30 seconds with the teacher clearly overpowering the student. At one point, he repeatedly strikes the student in the head as other students are heard screaming in the background.

Riley allegedly continued to pursue him as other staffers arrived to break up the fight. Toward the end of the video, staff members haul the student out of the classroom.

What did other students say?

One of the students from the classroom told the TV station he believes the teacher was setup.

"Everything was planned out," the student said on camera, with his identity hidden.

"There were students there who were already taking out their phones to record the incident. I don't think it's completely fair that they're just putting the blame all on (Riley), when I personally know that he's a good guy."

Another student also defended Riley.

"I had this teacher before and I had no problem with him," he told KTLA. "He was a really nice teacher, I always respected him. He always had a really good relationship with every student."

Riley was arrested around 2:30 p.m. Friday and his bail was set at $50,000, according to the report.

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