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Violence In Uptown Charlotte Raises Security Questions

One man died and police arrested more than 70 people in an unusually large fight that broke out late Saturday uptown. The incident happened just hours after the conclusion of the annual Speed Street festival and raises security questions with the coming July 4 holiday and next year's Democratic National Convention. Up to 30,000 people crammed into the four blocks around College and Trade streets late Saturday night as the Speed Street festival wound down. Police say around 1 a.m. multiple shots were fired, leaving one man dead. Officers in riot gear saw people flashing gang signs. Seventy people ended up in jail. It's one of the largest fights uptown has seen since July 4, 2006. But Speed Street promoter Crystal Emerick said there's no question the festival will return to uptown Charlotte. "I can't imagine where else we would want to put the event because it just lends itself to such a great festival environment in uptown Charlotte," Emerick said. Emerick added that CMPD did an excellent job maintaining security during the event. A spokeswoman for uptown booster group Charlotte Center City Partners wouldn't comment on how the incidents over the weekend may affect uptown's ability to draw other big events. The highest profile one scheduled is the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The Time Warner Cable Arena and the Charlotte Convention Center, which are within blocks of the weekend's violence, will host many DNC activities. Mayor Anthony Foxx tells the Charlotte Observer the incident was unfortunate but won't impact the DNC. A mix of federal and local law enforcement will be responsible for maintaining security when the president and other top Democrats are in uptown Charlotte next fall.