Petition calls on DOJ to investigate deaths of Boeing whistleblowers

More than 25,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the recent deaths of two Boeing whistleblowers as the company remains under intense scrutiny.

The petition, organized by the progressive advocacy group MoveOn, urges the DOJ to investigate the deaths of John Barnett and Joshua Dean.

Barnett, a 32-year veteran of Boeing who blew the whistle on safety and quality control concerns in the company’s production line, was found dead in an apparent suicide in March.

Dean, a former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, died last week after contracting a bacterial infection, according to The Seattle Times. He had accused the company’s leadership of ignoring manufacturing defects with the 737 Max.

“The dangerous trend of Boeing aircraft accidents is extremely alarming, and it’s time the Department of Justice investigate these tragic whistleblower deaths and the mounting allegations from employees that Boeing has sought to silence those that spoke out over safety concerns,” MoveOn spokesperson Britt Jacovich said in a statement.

Another Boeing whistleblower who testified before a Senate committee last month accused the company of retaliating against him for raising concerns about gaps in the manufacturing process.

A quality engineer at Boeing, Sam Salehpour said he was silenced and threatened after he raised concerns that portions of the fuselage of the 787 Dreamliner were improperly fused together.

Santiago Paredes, a former quality inspector at Spirit AeroSystems, also came forward with new allegations against the Boeing supplier on Wednesday, saying he was pressured to hide defects found in airline parts.

Paredes said he was demoted after complaining that management had changed the defect protocol to encourage fewer reports. He was eventually reinstated to a leadership role after filing a complaint.

“I felt I was being threatened, and I felt I was being retaliated against for raising concerns,” he said.

The increased scrutiny on the company comes in the wake of a midair blowout on a Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft in early January. The plane’s door plug blew off shortly after takeoff, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the aircraft and forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.

Boeing declined to comment.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. EDT.

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