With big events looming, officials look to boost security at Epicentre

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend and the weeklong CIAA Tournament are coming to uptown Charlotte within the next few weeks.

The Epicentre is a site for many events and gatherings, and security is an issue of focus for law enforcement officers.

[ALSO READ: Mecklenburg County NAACP demanding action after patron say they were denied entry to Epicentre club]

Last weekend, a brawl broke out at the Kandy Bar, located in the Epicentre.

Channel 9 learned police have been called 277 times this month for incidents.

[READ MORE: 'All-Star ready': Mayor, police, Hornets lay out plan for NBA All-Star festivities]

With major events coming to the Queen City, officers are working to make sure the area is safe for visitors.

Zakkiya Dixon told Channel 9 said suffered a concussion and a broken jaw from the fight at the Kandy Bar.

"When I turned around, he just hit me and I blacked out,” Dixon said.

Dixon said a security guard at the bar hit her in the face.

“Next thing you know, I was on the ground having seizures,” Dixon said.

Channel 9 found out that Alcohol Law Enforcement is investigating the fight.

Omar Qureshi, an ALE agent, said surveillance video inside the bar shows security failed to prevent or stop the fight and it appears some employees were involved.

"We believe the crowd was out of control,” Qureshi said. “Security measures weren't conducted properly, and it could have been prevented."

ALE moved to immediately suspend Kandy Bar's license, but there may not be enough documentation of past incidents, possibly due to underreporting or Epicentre security and police not providing enough information.

“The more detail they put into the report, the better for the ABC Commission to uphold a suspension,” Qureshi said.

Some question whether the Epicentre has enough security to keep people safe, especially for big events.

Channel 9 is told that ALE, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Epicentre are working to address security.

"I think they're concerned about many incidents that have happened in the past,” Qureshi said. “I think they want to project a better image or even just a safer place for anyone to come to uptown Charlotte.”

Many nightclubs here have their own security. The Epicentre has its own security and employs off-duty CMPD officers, in addition to responding on-duty CMPD officers.

However, with the number of incidents that happen each year, some suggest it may not be enough.

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