STATE REP. Jewell Williams lay prone on the back seat of a police cruiser. The metal handcuffs bit into his wrists; his fingers began to swell as a fiery pain spread through his body.

It was about 6 p.m. on March 28, a windy Saturday evening.

Moments earlier, Williams, an ex-cop, stopped his car because a police cruiser was blocking the street in his North Philadelphia neighborhood.

Officer Thomas Schaffling had stopped a 2009 steel-gray Volvo, which looked like a car involved in a drug buy a few blocks away, police said.

Williams said that he watched as Schaffling frisked the driver, an older man, then placed his money on the Volvo's hood, where it began to blow away. When the man tried to grab his money, Schaffling handcuffed him.

Williams said that the Volvo's driver seemed frail. When the legislator heard the word "hospital" and the thinly built man seemed distressed, Williams exited his car and asked another officer, Timothy Devlin, who was nearby, if everything was OK.

He identified himself as a state legislator. Devlin said, "Get the f--- back in your car before I give you a bunch of tickets," according to Williams and two independent witnesses. Williams said that he asked to speak to a supervisor.

Next thing Williams knew, Devlin had him in handcuffs, crammed in the back of a squad car. Williams was forced to lie sideways because his size 12 1/2 shoes didn't fit behind the cruiser's front seat.

"I was thinking, 'What are they going to do with me?' because I didn't do anything wrong," said Williams, D-Phila. "I came to the aid of a constituent who I didn't even know, and then I get rousted up."

The Volvo's driver was John Cornish, a Nicetown resident and longtime truck driver for the city's Streets Department.

His car matched a description of a vehicle involved in a drug buy a few blocks from where officers stopped Cornish on York Street, between Smedley and Bancroft, near 16th. Schaffling searched Cornish and the Volvo and found no drugs, according to police.

Williams was not charged with any crime. Cornish, who has no criminal record, and his passenger also were released.

Last week, the police Internal Affairs Bureau launched an investigation into the March 28 incident, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

Schaffling and Devlin, who did not return calls seeking comment, are no strangers to Internal Affairs investigators.

Or to Ramsey.

Ramsey had placed both officers on desk duty in August after similar allegations made headlines:

* On Aug. 9, Schaffling and Devlin clashed with guests at an outdoor baby shower in North Philadelphia.

The guests claimed that Schaffling and Devlin were at the center of a police attack that injured at least six people, including children who were maced, struck with batons and pushed to the ground, witnesses told the Daily News in an Aug. 13 article.

In January, the alleged victims filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the Police Department.

* On Aug. 24, Schaffling and Devlin pulled over two men, who said they were headed to church, in West Philadelphia. The driver told NBC 10 that Schaffling aimed his gun at him and shouted, "I'm going to blow your f---ing head off." Devlin got nervous and also drew his weapon, the driver said.

The driver filed a citizen's complaint, and the city's Police Advisory Commission wrote a letter to Ramsey asking him to take Schaffling off the street.

Schaffling had also been linked to a May 5 police beating of three shooting suspects. That incident was captured by a Fox 29 news helicopter and broadcast around the world.

In the Fox video, Schaffling is seen pulling driver Brian Hall out of a car. He acknowledged afterward that he had "utilized foot strikes," or kicks, on Hall in an attempt to subdue him, police documents show.

Schaffling, 25, an officer since 2003, was cleared of wrongdoing. He wasn't among the eight officers disciplined by Ramsey. Devlin, who joined the force in 2002, was not involved in the May 5 incident. Ramsey said last week that he returned Schaffling and Devlin to the street a few months ago, but ordered supervisors to closely monitor them and to split them up. The officers are part of Strike Force South, an elite crime-fighting unit run by Capt. James J. Kelly III.

"We need [officers], as many as possible, out working," Ramsey said about his decision. "They were put on desk duty. They had been on desk duty for several months and there was no evidence that surfaced that would justify [keeping them off street patrol]."

Ramsey said that he "split them up . . . just to make sure that we don't have a problem with either one of them and to give them a chance to work with other people."

Schaffling and Devlin were not working together on the night that Williams, a member of the state House since 2001, was detained.

Schaffling was partnered with Officer Donna Stewart, while Devlin was paired with a supervisor, Sgt. Kevin Bernard, police said.

Schaffling and Stewart stopped Cornish.

Cornish, a Vietnam veteran and self-described "old head" who did not want his age in the newspaper, said that he and his childhood friend, Carl Cutler, 63, had just come from a VFW post in South Philadelphia where they picked up raffle tickets for an Easter event.

When Cornish saw the police lights behind him, he pulled over, thinking the cruiser needed to get by, he said.

Schaffling rushed up to the Volvo and yelled, "Get out of the car! Get out of the car!" The officer seemed "enraged," Cornish said.

Schaffling rifled through Cornish's pockets and placed about $900 on the hood of the Volvo. A heavy wind blew the cash off the hood. When Cornish tried to grab his money, Schaffling shoved him up against the Volvo and clamped the handcuffs tight on his bony wrists, according to Cornish and two witnesses.

"That money was blowing all the way down the street," Cornish said. "I worked for that money. That's no criminal money."

Both Cornish and Cutler described Officer Stewart, who handcuffed Cutler, as polite and professional. In fact, Stewart ran after the money for Cornish, who said he had recently cashed a winning lottery ticket, his income-tax return, and city paycheck. He only got about $200 back; the rest blew away, Cornish said.

Cornish said that when he complained that the cuffs were too tight, Schaffling said something like, "Shut the f--- up or I'll f--- you up and take you to the hospital."

That's when Williams, who was stopped about three-car lengths back, emerged from his state-leased Chrysler.

Williams said that he caught the word "hospital" and heard Cornish tell Schaffling, "Son, why are you treating me like this?"

According to Cornish and Williams, Schaffling barked, "I'm not your f---ing son. You address me as 'officer.' "

"He wasn't acting like an officer; he was acting like a thug," Cornish said.

By then, Officer Devlin and Sgt. Bernard had arrived on the scene.

Cutler, Cornish's friend, said he heard Williams twice identify himself to Devlin as a state legislator.

"It sounded like [Devlin] said, 'I don't give a f--- who you are,' " said Cutler, a retired shirt-presser at a dry cleaning establishment.

After finding no drugs on Cutler or Cornish, police released them and sent them on their way.

Williams said that he asked to speak to a supervisor and Devlin slapped cuffs on him.

"He said, 'F--- that, you're locked up and here's my supervisor,' " Williams said.

After briefly conferring with the other officers on the scene, Bernard told Williams that he "supports his men" and was locking him up on a disorderly conduct charge for interfering with a police investigation," according to Williams.

"How could I interfere if I'm at least 100 feet away?" Williams said.

While on their way to the Police Detention Unit, at 8th and Race streets, Devlin began to lecture Williams, asserting that politicians don't really support police or seem to care about the recent rash of officers killed in the line of duty, Williams said.

Williams said that he answered back, "'Do you think black people like to see police officers killed? . . . We don't want murderers in our neighborhood. . . . When a police officer is killed in the black community, we grieve, too.'"

When they arrived at the detention unit, Bernard got out of the police car and made a call on his cell phone, Williams said. Bernard hung up the phone and apparently had a change of heart. He took the handcuffs off Williams and said that he wanted to work things out.

The officers then drove Williams to the 23rd District police station, at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue, where his family picked him up, Williams said.

Bernard declined comment, citing police policy. Officer Donna Stewart could not be reached for comment last night.

Williams said that John McNesby, president of Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police, called him to apologize on behalf of the officers. McNesby did not return a phone call from the Daily News.

Williams, 51, who sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which controls government money given to towns and cities across the state, is widely viewed as "pro-police."

Prior to joining the Legislature, Williams served as chief of criminal operations for the sheriff's office and worked as a Temple University police officer.

Williams also is a member of the state's Municipal Police Officers' Education & Training Commission. Williams said that he now plans to recommend additional "sensitivity training" for officers.

"Obviously if they're getting it, it's not working," Williams said about Devlin and Schaffling.

Cornish and Cutler said that they intend to file a formal citizen's complaint against the officers. Their allegations are the third against Schaffling since he returned from desk duty earlier this year:

On Jan. 22, Reginald Butler claimed that Schaffling struck him twice in the back of the head with what felt like the butt of his service weapon and threw him face-first down the steps at his West Philly home.

Butler's sister Charlana Butler said that she filed a complaint with the Police Advisory Commission on her brother's behalf. Police found 10 grams of crack cocaine on Butler. Butler, 28, who has a prior criminal record, is facing drug charges, court records show.

On Feb. 26, Schaffling arrested John James, a 43-year-old patron at a West Philly bar, for disorderly conduct. At the time, Schaffling and fellow officers were assisting the Liquor Control Board on a routine check at the Franchize Sport Bar, at 50th and Thompson streets, Parkside.

James said that Schaffling handcuffed him after he complained that the officers had no right to search the pockets of bar patrons. Schaffling took James outside and slammed his head into the back window of the police cruiser, James alleged.

According to the police report, James was agitated and "proceeded to bang his head on the glass."

Also in February, Schaffling gave a deposition in a civil-rights lawsuit filed against him by West Oak Lane resident Garron Wheeler. Wheeler, 23, a salesman for Canada Dry who has no prior criminal record, said that on July 19, 2006, Schaffling, who was looking for drug suspects, handcuffed him, threw him against a gate and began to choke him. Schaffling also scraped Wheeler's face and shoulders on the pavement, Wheeler alleged. Wheeler had no drugs on him, and Schaffling let him go.

Cornish said he wants an apology from Schaffling.

"I didn't get to be this age only to be roughed up by a young kid," Cornish said. "It was very traumatic. I ain't never seen nobody act like that. This guy, what was he so angry about?" *