CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The talk of the town this week is how Panthers star defensive-end Greg Hardy was convicted of domestic abuse for an attack on his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder. He's appealing the verdict.
But the scandalous testimony left many with a bad impression of the party scene in Charlotte. We heard about crazy drunk behavior, fights in bars and people doing drugs. The Queen City used to be known as a boring town. Are things now going to the other extreme?
It's a Friday night at the Epicentre in Uptown and tourists from LA say they love it.
"I haven't experienced any belligerently drunk people and I haven't experienced any violence," said Anna Judd, "And I never felt unsafe or uncomfortable."
The petty cab drivers say later on it will be different.
"Around 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning when clubs let out at the Epicentre that's when it pretty much get's a little hectic out here and a lot of security needed," said Corey Hill with R &R Petty Cabs, "Other than that it's a great time."
What's a great time? The day Greg Hardy was arrested was an early Tuesday morning in May. During his trial a group of friends described going out that Monday night. According to their testimony, they drank champagne before leaving Hardy's apartment which had several guns out in the open. They went to a couple of bars at the Epicentre did shots and drank mixed drinks. They said they left and came back to the Epicentre where Hardy's ex-girlfriend says she did cocaine in the bathroom. Hardy also described his ex-girlfriend shouting at him two days before at the Epicentre begging to get back together.
"I think it's commonplace," said Hill, "There's a lot that goes on up there and security can't be everywhere so I can definitely see that being a true statement that was made earlier."
Off-duty CMPD officers are hired by the bars to keep things under control. And the Central division responds to calls when someone needs to be arrested or transported.
"Not everybody handles their alcohol very well," said Sgt. Ivan Reitz, "Some people become just very loud boisterous and they're causing problems. We'll come out for those."
Officers say people wouldn't come back if they didn't feel safe and safety is a priority for them and the bar owners. Sgt. Reitz says things in Uptown are under control
"I think what you heard in the testimony was somewhat blown out of proportion," said Reitz, "It is not the Wild Wild West at the Epicentre at any of our other bar locations."
Police officers said the most common calls they receive are related to intoxication.