DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The Dallas County Democratic Party renewed its call for Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk to resign on Sunday.
In the statement, the Democrats describe new details revealed Sunday about the DA's struggles with mental illness. It's referring to an article in D Magazine that describes Hawk's suicidal tendencies over the course of her treatment for depression.
Hawk took time off from her job as district attorney to seek professional help after admitting she struggled with severe depression. She returned this week telling the public she is healthy and ready to get back to work.
But Dallas County Democratic Chair Carol Donovan took issue with a report that Hawk had considered taking an entire bottle of sleeping pills at one point during her treatment. In her news release, Donovan also claimed Hawk had been involuntarily committed to a Houston psychiatric hospital. But Hawk's supporters insist she's ready to lead the District Attorney's office, and this new call for resignation is nothing but a political move.
"Yes, we can all survive depression," Donovan said, "but what concerns me greatly is now finding out the seriousness of her considering suicide during a period that was just a few weeks ago, and then expecting her to be able to run the entire district attorney's office."
Dallas County GOP Chair Wade Emmert sees it differently.
"I think the Democrats are looking to exploit the situation for their own political benefit," Emmert said. "And it's a shame because many people suffer with depression, and the more that condition is stigmatized, the fewer people are going to get help."
A representative for Susan Hawk sent us a statement in response. It reads it part, "I understand why my political opponents would want to use this against me, but I'm healthy and I know that my story can help others so I respectfully ask them to step back and give me a chance."
In that statement Hawk also disputes that she was ever involuntarily committed, insisting her entire time in treatment was voluntary.
Read both statements in full:
Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Carol Donovan issued this statement Sunday:
Susan Hawk has failed to tell the truth about her troubles and her whereabouts. Now we learn that, just weeks ago, our top law enforcement official was involuntarily committed after threatening to kill herself.
There is not a family in America that has not been touched by depression, directly or indirectly. It is an illness that must be taken seriously, and it should not be belittled. In view of the facts that have just recently been revealed, Susan owes it to herself, not to mention her nearly 500 employees and the taxpayers, to resign and to concentrate on getting well.
Hawk released the following response statement around 7:30 p.m. Sunday night:
During the nine weeks I was treated for depression it was my decision to be there — I was there voluntarily the entire time. To say that I was there involuntarily at any point is factually wrong. I've attempted to contact Democratic Chair Carol Donovan to correct his misinformation. I understand why my political opponents would want to use this against me, but I'm healthy and I know that my story can help others so I respectfully ask them to step back and give me a chance.
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